The Strange Reason Kuala Lumpur Airspace Is Closing Next Week

Filed Under: Malaysia

Malaysia is soon celebrating its National Day, and in preparation for that they’re closing down the airspace around Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia has announced that the airspace around KLIA will be closed from 9AM until 10:30AM on August 27-31, 2018.

That means the airspace will be closed for 7.5 hours over the course of five days, which sure is a lot.

Why is airspace being closed? So that the Royal Malaysian Air Force can conduct training for their 2018 Merdeka Day celebration airshow.

Best I can tell, for the most part airlines haven’t actually canceled or rescheduled flights in anticipation of this airspace closure, but rather are advising passengers to contact the airline if they are affected.

It would appear as if Malaysia Airlines (and other airlines) continue to have flights sold for that period, so my guess is that they’ll either just delay flights by 90 minutes day of, or otherwise board everyone as usual, and just have them sit on the plane for the 90 minute ground stop, and maybe hope that the airspace restrictions are lifted early.

One thing that’s not entirely clear is why the airshow practice has to take place over the country’s largest international airport. There are lots of countries with airshows that require practice, but usually they’re able to do that in a way that doesn’t disrupt operations at the international airport.

If you are flying through KLIA next week sometime in the morning, maybe have a plan in place if you have a fairly short connection or actually need to be somewhere at the time you booked.

(Tip of the hat to @CTxNH)

  1. Typical for a country that is full of self centered people. Countries like this are full of corruption, rigid class systems, people who do not care about other people in their counties. They are 3rd world countries that will never become 1st world countries even if they try to hype themselves up. Actually this is what Trump wants the USA to become.

  2. Singapore also closes its airspace every year for a 20 minute period for its National Day flypast and 7 other rehersals totalling more than 2.5 hours over 2 months during the evening peak.

  3. Very common. India also closed Delhi airspace for the Independence Day parade last week and also for Republic Day in January.

  4. Rehearsals for national day celebrations involve dry runs, which emulate certain aspects of activities on the day of the event. This is actually very common for similar events around the world, including in “Developed” nations such as in France for the Bastille Day Parade. It’s similar to air space closures that affect us in the DC area regularly when the President and other world leaders are entering and leaving the city.

  5. “The Strange Reason Kuala Lumpur Airspace Is Closing Next Week.”

    Strange to who? Seems like a common practice world-wide.

  6. We were delayed by 5 hours trying to leave Lhasa, (Tibet) China because the military was doing exercises in advance of upcoming government meetings and there’s only one set of runways. A 90-minute delay would have seemed wonderful by comparison as Lhasa has no wi-fi and no cell signal unless you have a Chinese phone carrier.

  7. Lucky, don’t you consider your blog reputable enough to use regular headlines instead of click-bait ones?

  8. A major international airport is self-inflicting an ELECTIVE 90 minute closure, 5 days in a row, right in the middle of the morning rush, so some military jets can practice their loop-d-loops. Think about that folks. That means no takeoffs, no landings, no nothing for NINETY MINUTES. Can these planes not find some other airspace to rehearse their flips & tricks? GIVE. ME. A. BREAK. Can you imagine LHR or JFK or any other major global airport doing this – FIVE days in a row? And it’s BY CHOICE!

  9. I happen to have one of my regular weekly First class flights on two of these dates. A delay would have been ok in HKG (more time to enjoy the cabanas and/or the Pier) but in KLIA the first class lounge is quite disappointing.

  10. For those who are not from Malaysia, do note that the National Day parade this year is held at Putrajaya, the administrative capital. It is just next to the district where KLIA is and no nearby airport or military air base.

    On the bright side, what an opportunity for plane spotters! I don’t remember an occasion where there were military planes in KLIA

  11. I was wondering why my DPS-KUL was re-timed next week. Now I know. Rather annoying though, since my arrival time has moved from 16:00 to 19:00, and I had early dinner plans. Unfortunately there are no earlier flights, either.

  12. @Callum – there you go! Lucky wrote an article with you in mind.

    Pathetic nationalism or a display of pride -depends on the side one stands.

  13. @Mike Jones – so I’m guessing you don’t live in the US, right? Your description fits that of the US perfectly – actually more so than other countries which are more democratic in nature.

  14. Jared – Nationalism causes suffering, I’d say it’s objectively wrong. With the US being a beacon of division and suffering it wouldn’t be surprising for that to be an unpopular view here though!

  15. One of my life experiences …………In December 1971 I was stranded in Dacca (Dhaka) then East Pakistan now Bangladesh when Dacca airport airspace was permanently closed because the Indian Air Force were bombing the airport and West Pakistan army military bases . It was the ending of the civil war , when India came in to support Bangladeshis against the West Pakistan military. We left our house and moved to a hotel in town away from the military bases and ack ack guns . Took a case of beer and a small suitcase ready to evacuate. Locked up the house . Eventually the UN arranged a ceasefire and the British Royal Air force came in from Singapore with a large aircraft , I believe it was a C41 troop carrier, it had webbbing seats facing each other sideways . It took out all the foreigners. We were allowed one hand luggage. Before the aircraft could land, we had to fill in 3 large craters in the paved runway, all the local staff had disappeared , no check in , no luggage staff, no control tower , seat of the pants stuff. . We found 3 pick up trucks and some shovels and dug earth from the grassy areas and loaded it into the pickups and filled the holes. We just drove the trucks over the earth to compact it . The aircraft is built for such bad surfaces and after 2 low passes to take a look , it was assisted to land by a UN guy with a walkie talkie radio who was standing on the runway . Myself and 3 guys from our company arrived in Singapore with 5 British Pounds between us , no credit cards in those days . The hotel allowed us to stay, buy food and beers and held our passports until we paid . Next day , we had to send a message to our Head Office in UK to send money so we could send a telegram to our parents to let them know we were safe ,buy tickets to fly to UK for Christmas and pay our hotel bill. The world was a different place then.

  16. Why – WHY – would you use ICAO codes? Everyone goes by IATA codes and it’s not fancier to know ICAO codes. Jesus Christ, the self-importance on display there.

  17. @Callum – nationalism also leads to remarkable outcomes (victory for the allies in WWII, struggle for independence for Bangladesh, the recovery after the great depression for the US). There are always at least two sides to a coin, and typically more.

    What you may see as nationalism is often considered pride for a nation for others so I don’t think there is objectivity when discussing human behavior.

  18. @William Y

    Try doing some research. before going on a brain fart.

    KLIA is not the ICAO code, it’s just short for Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The ICAO code is WMKK, and yes I had to Google it since I don’t remember these things either.

  19. @William Y: plus, for Malaysians and most of Southeast Asians going to/from it, we always call the airport “KLIA”, acronym of Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Never KUL, never Sepang, and definitely never WMKK.

  20. Strange to whom indeed. If you’ve been living in some parts of Asia then you’d notice that closing airports for a part of the day for some special events is not surprising at all. Just because it doesn’t happen anywhere (probably the US or Europe) shouldn’t mean the phenomenon is strange.

    Poorly chosen words, sadly, especially for an article title.

  21. Closure of airspace is for separation of aircraft purposes. Do take note that Putrajaya ang KLIA are in close proximity. Safety issues only.

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